Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nazis And Recycling: A Sort of Hitler Youth Knife - Part 2

Ok, those of you who are still befuddled by my closing statements as to the Hitler Youth knives that are not  really Hitler Youth knives, this is for you!

I talked with a long time militaria collector recently,  who has 5 DIFFERENT examples of this same knife. 

He doesn't have this one.

Serious collectors will identify differences in things. 

Goes with all areas of collecting. Variations in styles, images, marks, signatures, base materials, colors, parts, compositions, age, etc, etc, etc. Some serious collectors tend to want all the different variations of something they collect. Depending on how advanced (or just plain obsessed) the collector is will determine just how minor the variation is to become something they desire to add to their collection of examples of that particular item.

Will the fellow I talked to buy this one? 

Maybe. My gut says that if he was having some good sales at the show I talked to him at, he would have said "save it for me." But, the economy the way it is, and the fact being that these knives are part of a sub-collection of his main collecting interests (WW2 militaria & weaponry), it doesn't quite "fit" perfectly in his "I Really Need This For My Collection" line of thought.  Thus, it is not a "must have that at any cost I'll eat Kraft Diner for a week instead of real food" type of item. 

As for this knife, the difference in it is that "ridge back"....but, the fact is, this may well not be the blade used on the Hitler Youth Knives. 

Also, I am NO expert on Hitler Youth knives. Nor Nazi-Germany related items, I will need to do a little digging/ can come along for some of it.

Warning, am about to go off on what initially will seem like a tangent, rant, spewing of political opinion, etc, etc, but bear with me and work with me through this, ok?  There is a point to it, unrelated to "opinions" I may hold.

There are a couple reasons for me not becoming an expert or highly knowledgeable in Nazi items. 

(#1) It is an area in which there are FAKES galore (not to mentioned modern neo-Nazi crap, fantasy items, movie/TV props, etc.) American Civil War items are the only other category that seems to contain more  faked items..and only because the Civil War happened long before WW2....(*DUH*). 
And, a fact lesser known/realized/considered is that the events being of "recent" history, there are still NOS and previously unknown/unseen items coming out of the woodwork, especially with increased ease of any individuals access to the Internet.
I don't mean by "Fred down in Florida". I mean by those residing in countries which had been "closed" (or sealed tight) after WW2. These are countries that collectors in the "Western World" have had little or ZERO access to until recently.  Formerly communist/dictator/regime ruled countries' entrepreneurial residents  are digging into their "archives" of WW2 artifacts (IE: hoards/warehouses/caves/lake bottoms/river bottoms/battlefields/basements/attics/vets' war souvenirs/estates/etc/etc/etc) and stuff is popping out of the wood work.  (Remember when East Germany opened up?)
 Some of the real stuff look more fake than the fakes themselves...only because Mr Brawnosovitchki's uncle owned the stamping factory where the originals were made, who now owns the place, and he found a barrel of not suite perfect, but darn close, "rejects."  Originally stamped out in 1942, and got lost in the back storage in 1943, and never got melted down. Now Mr Brawnosovitchki has now discovered eBay....much to the chagrin of the half dozen collectors who have coveted their "one of 6 known" badges, all of which were brought back as battlefield souvenirs by vets.  Oh well, there goes the market!  (FYI, Mr Brawnosovitchki is a figment of my imagination, so don't bother Googling him...)

(#2) WW2s is an era that was...well....horrific when it comes down to it. 
War is war, blah, blah, blah, but when it comes down to the purposeful extermination of any human group I get a little...mmm...let's just say (and I say this being VERY conservative with my terms), "annoyed."  No, I am not interested in a debate about Nazis, Aryans, or even diverting to the politics of abortion, capital punishment, etc. I'll keep those views to myself, as should may even find your views start to change with knowledge & education.

I will tell you, I do know of the existence of ORIGINAL photos of Auschwitz as it was when the first allied soldiers arrived.......BEFORE a CLEAN-UP of the site was undertaken, which is what all the currently published photos show.  Humans have done horrible things to fellow humans...we don't even know the worst of it. 

Unimaginable horrors that your most warped, psychopathic imaginative horror flick producer could not envision. Fact IS stranger (and more horrific) than fiction. Take the worst movie, "Real" YouTube video, etc, and times it by 1000 fold...then you might get halfway to envisioning the things that have occurred in reality.

Yes, the things you can potentially learn in this business goes beyond "making money from junk" can permanently alter your view of the world, and the people who inhabit it.  Sit down and talk to a vet from WW2 who experienced the front lines...if they are willing to talk about the horrific side of war.  Those who wage war are not the ones who have to deal with it, nor its after effects....and that is why war still occurs, IMHO.

Yes, this business, for me, is not all about making money.  If you are good at what you do, you will not be able to help but learn things not related to the $$$$ values of things. History wraps itself around objects.

To truly understand value, "provenance", etc, you need to listen to an object's history. I don't mean in a "New Age" sort of "this object has an aura/soul/life force of its own" sort of thing. I mean that an object was created for purpose, and was potentially used for that purpose...or was used for some other purpose, for some other reason.

And that brings me full circle...back to this particular knife and it's "ridge back" blade....and pushing it into ANOTHER separate blog post.  Many folks have short attention spans, you see!

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